03:04AM | 07/27/07
Member Since: 05/27/07
9 lifetime posts
I have a pump that is 12 A and it is currently plugged into a 15 A outlet which is protected by a 15 A circuit breaker. I know that most circut breakers are only suitable for carrying 80% of their rated current. The problem that I am having is that after an hour or so of having the pump on the breaker will trip. I was wondering if I could just parallel two 15 A circuit breakers, which would then give me 30A. If I can do that, is it as easy as just connecting both breakers to the one hot wire of the outlet? Do they need to be interlocked?


05:08AM | 07/27/07
Member Since: 04/25/05
1916 lifetime posts
No, you can not parallel them.

That would allow twice the amount of current that the wiring would be rated for.

It is not uncommon old breakers to start tripping early. Also a poor connection wire or at the bus will cause heat that will cause the breaker to trip early.

Start with replacing the breaker and when you look at the conduition of the buss bar, that there is no corrosion.

If you still have a problem then you need to look at the pump and verify the current. Also the voltage. Low voltage will cause the current draw to be extra high.

Either the pump is bad or it is not being correctly used. The pump motor will only pull 12 amps at one design point.

Higher or lower pressurs and flow and it will draw a different amount of current.


06:04AM | 07/27/07
Member Since: 05/27/07
9 lifetime posts
Wouldn't it protect my outlet up to 30 A, or at least not trip the one breaker if it goes slightly over the 12 A. The outlet is currently wired with 12 AWG which i think is suitable for 30 A.

I would love to replace the breaker but the only problem is that they are the old Gould/ITE pushmatic circuit breakers and I can't find them any where. I would love to replace the whole panelboard but I don't really have the time for that right now. I was looking to try and fix this as quickly and as easily as possible.

I checked the conduit and the wire and it doesn't look like there is any corrosion any where.


11:49AM | 07/27/07
Member Since: 04/25/05
1916 lifetime posts
Replacement breakers are availalbe.

There is a company that makes them.

Local electrical supply house should have them.

And HD some for 3rd party breakers for old panels. The models probably depend on what was heavily used in your area.

No #12 is not rated for 30 amps. The basic rating is 25 amps, but only for derating. It is not to be protected by more than a 20 amp breaker.

In some very limited cases it can be rated at 30 amps. But again only for derating purposes and then it has to be connected to equipment rated for opeartions 90*C which I am sure that the pushmatics or the receptacle is not rated for that.

Also the 15 amp duplex receptacle is only rated for 15 amps each 1/2 and a total of 20 amps is on a 20 amp circuit.

Also the approval of the cord on the pump is rated for use on a maximum of a 20 amp circuit.

If the motor is drawing excessive current and you put it on a 30 amp circuit you might endup with a fire in the cord.


06:02AM | 07/28/07
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
its simple.

If your pump is running continuously for long periods that should cover you, however if you're meeting continuous use - you shouldn't have anything else on this circuit - because you have only 1 amp to spare (for voltage drops, etc.).

12 amps x 125% continuous load equals 15 amps, but if your CBs are 80 percent you're already at your limit for occasional use, so during start up OR if you have the SLIGHTEST VOLTAGE DROP your pump motor will draw MORE amps to compensate. Also if ANYTHING else is on this circuit using power - you've exceeded.

Your other option is to replace your existing 15 amp CB with one that is 100 percent rated - but you have absolutely NO provision for "dirty power" or the least voltage drop/fluctuation.

Therefore, it would be best to upgrade to 20 amp CB. Hopefully you have that 5 amps to spare in your present power/ panel configuration.


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